Could nasal sprays hold the key to defeating the Delta Covid variant? New study finding

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The benefits of getting vaccinated are manifest by now – the data clearly shows that the current vaccines authorised for UK use thwart the viral pathogen by negating its worst effects on the body. However, transmissibility remains high and mounting evidence suggests vaccine protection is waning over time.

The trend is particularly concerning when considering that the Delta variant is running amok.

It is becoming clear that multiple interventions aimed at keeping nasty mutations of coronavirus at bay will be welcomed.

A new study confirms the protective benefits of Viraleze – an antiviral nasal spray that has been shown to reduce the viral load of the pathogen.

The findings suggest that a wider take up of antiviral nasal sprays could augment and even make up for some of the deficiencies of the vaccines.

The biotech company behind the nasal spray – Starpharma – announced on Monday the publication of new data demonstrating the capability of its Viraleze antiviral nasal spray to protect against SARS-CoV-2 in an animal challenge model of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

SARS-CoV-2 is the medical name designated to the latest strain of coronavirus that has spread across the world.

Viraleze administered nasally reduced viral load by more than 99.9 percent in the lungs and trachea of animals challenged with COVID-19, compared to saline-control.

The findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal Viruses, in a special issue titled Medical Interventions for Treatment and Prevention of SARS-CoV-2 Infections, provides further validation for Viraleze against COVID-19.

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The antiviral agent in Viraleze, SPL7013, has previously been shown in vitro to have potent antiviral and virucidal activity in multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2, including inactivation of 99.9 percent of the Delta variant.

Virucidal agents are chemical substances that attack and inactivate viral particles outside the cell.

Viraleze was developed for application in the nasal cavity to help reduce exposure to respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

The product is registered for sale in Europe and India, and available online in certain markets.

Global data indicates that vaccines against COVID-19 are highly effective in preventing hospitalisation and death, but that vaccinated individuals can still become infected and shed virus.

Complementary interventions, like Viraleze, could potentially be used to reduce viral load at the primary site of initial infection and could also be helpful to reduce shedding of infectious virus.

The latest study, conducted at The Scripps Research Institute, used a humanised COVID-19 mouse model recommended by the World Health Organization (WH0).

The results show that Viraleze administered nasally significantly reduced Covid viral load in the respiratory tract, in the blood and in other organs in Viraleze treated animals.

The latest findings further demonstrate the potent antiviral activity of nasal sprays in multiple respiratory viruses and multiple variants of coronavirus.

Starpharma CEO, Dr Jackie Fairley, said: “In this study Viraleze was highly protective against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in an established SARS-CoV-2 animal model of coronavirus infection.

“These results provide compelling data supporting the utility of a broad-spectrum nasal spray, like Viraleze, to potentially reduce exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus in respiratory tract and other organs.

“One of the potential advantages of Viraleze is its ability to significantly reduce viral load in the respiratory tract, which could lower both the transmissibility of the virus to others and severity of disease.”

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